London doctors were given permission to perform an urgent Caesarean section on a mentally-ill woman last night.
A High Court judge ordered the surgery after concluding that the woman lacked the mental capacity to make the decision at a hearing in the Court of Protection yesterday.
Mr Justice Hayden gave specialists working for the Royal Free London NHS Trust the go-ahead late last night. Lawyers representing the trust today said the baby had been delivered without any problem in the early hours and the woman had hugged a surgeon after recovering consciousness.
The judge described the decision as "draconian", but said he had heard evidence that the woman's life might have been in danger and had concluded the woman, who is 32 and was 32 weeks pregnant, lacked the mental capacity to make the decision herself.
A High Court Judge heard a pregnant woman was thought to be suffering from paranoid schizophrenia and had attempted suicide.
The decision to compel a Caesarean Section on an incapacitous woman who is mentally and physically ill is an extremely draconian one,
Doctors do not embark upon this lightly. It occurs extremely rarely. It is one that the lawyers also take very seriously indeed.
– High Court judge Mr Justice Hayden.
As he ruled that doctors should be given permission to perform a urgent The judge said neither the woman nor the hospital could be identified but he said the health authority could and should be named.
He said the scrutiny of doctors' conduct could only "serve to reassure public confidence".
The Court of Protection is part of the High Court and analyses issues relating to sick and vulnerable people.
A government challenge to overturn a High Court ban on planned cuts at Lewisham Hospital is to be heard today.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt suffered an embarrassing defeat when changes to emergency and maternity services were declared "unlawful" in July.
The government lost the case because the cuts were judged to be in breach of the National Health Services Act 2006.
The Health Secretary was attempting to deal with problems created by the financial collapse of neighbouring South London Healthcare NHS Trust, which went into administration after it started losing more than £1 million a week.
Royal wedding protesters have lost their High Court claim that they were victims of unlawful searches and arrest and detention.The Met Police argued that the arrests were needed to prevent breaches of the peace or criminality.